In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, join me as we make some self-care boxes! Self-care boxes are boxes or containers that are filled with comfort objects for you to have in times of distress. These objects can be as simple as some pieces of candy, nail polish, or a favorite smelling lotion. You can put whatever you want in the box as long as it is something positive and will provide relief to you in stressful situations.

You can make a self-care box out of anything. I used an old shoebox for mine, but you can get creative. It can be a basket, an old game board box, and so on. Dig around in those closets, and I’m sure you can find something.

To decorate the box, you can grab just about anything. I used patterned paper, stickers, markers, and tape for mine. But you can print out images that are special to you (or simply pictures you like), cut out pictures in a magazine, an old book, and so on. There’s no limits in how you want to decorate it.

I didn’t follow any kind of theme for decorating my box but just chose things that I thought looked pretty and added some words of affirmation and positivity. You can decorate certain sides of it with things that you like. Get as complicated and in-depth as you want. There’s no wrong way to go about decorating the box. Just be sure to not pressure yourself to make it look absolutely perfect.

After you’ve finished decorating your box, you can start filling it with things that will be comforting to you in stressful times. This can look like anything and there’s no limit. For mine, I filled it with a stuffed animal a close friend gave me, some candy, a candle, a notebook to write in or color in, lotion and nail polish, and a worry stone. So now if I’m ever feeling overwhelmed, I can go to my box and de-stress with what’s inside.

Making a self-care box is an act of self-love and learning about how you can take care of yourself. You can be at any age and make one because we all deserve to have something that gives us comfort. Make this a joint project among loved ones and talk to each other about why what you put inside is important to you. Remember to be good to yourself and be good to each other.

Mariah Pugliese is a Reference Librarian at the Kirkwood Public Library. When not at the library, she enjoys reading and writing sci-fi/fantasy and taking care of her 25+ houseplants who are all named after fictional characters in literature.